JMW Turner Is Back At Center-Stage

The 19th-century British painter JMW Turner is having a moment. Timothy Spall plays him in the acclaimed upcoming film “Mr. Turner,” and the artist is the subject of a new exhibition at the Tate Britain in London. Don’t forget that in 1840 the general consensus was that Turner had lost his marbles. Old age had addled his brain, leaving him incapacitated as a painter: a past master who was now only capable of splashing paint on a canvas in the most indiscriminate fashion.

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